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Make: Compressed Air Rockets Kit

Building this rocket launcher is a breeze, and folks are always amazed at how it shoots reusable paper rockets 200–300 feet high. The launcher is made from PVC pipe. You pressurize its chamber to 75psi with about 18 strokes of a bicycle pump, then release all the pressure in a... Read more »

Extreme LED Throwies

LED throwies are cheery glow-dots you can make in seconds from simple components and stick to any ferro-magnetic surface. But that’s just the beginning — here’s how to hack and modify them. First make a basic LED throwie, and chain them up into big throwie “bugs.” Then learn to hack... Read more »

Lumia Lunchbox Laser

Back in the 1970s, my friend Wayne Gillis and I used to do light shows at science fiction conventions. We had the usual panoply of overhead, slide, and custom-made projectors, and a single, very expensive, helium-neon laser from Edmund Scientific. Calling ourselves Light Opera, and later, Illuminatus, we performed at... Read more »

Simple Van de Graaff Generator

When I was younger, I spent hours perusing Bill Beaty’s electrostatics web pages. At the time, I didn’t achieve any real successes trying to build his high-voltage contraptions, and so my interest waned. Years later, I saw someone online use a soda can as a collector for their Van de... Read more »

Bottle Radio

Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This "bottle radio" take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the "window of opportunity"... Read more »

Guitar Strap Gamepad

If you’re playing Rocksmith (and I think you should be), and you’re playing standing up (ditto), you have probably run into the "where do I put the controller" problem. The gamepad is required to navigate the menu system between songs, and if you play in a standing position you have... Read more »

Bent-Wire Crank Toy

Making things with wire looks simple, but it can be challenging. Pick up a few wire-bending tricks, though, and you can sketch in 3 dimensions and make anything from a tiny, delicate figurine to a large, mechanical sculpture with moving parts. Like sketching with a pen on paper, there’s no... Read more »

Laboratory Cork Ring

Round-bottom flasks offer many advantages for chemical work that requires heating a liquid, but suffer from a major storage and handling drawback: They don’t sit flat on a work surface. The common solution is to equip the bench with one or more cork rings that the flasks can sit in,... Read more »

Better Nerf Gun

Like most geek-filled offices, at my workplace we have several Nerf guns and similar toy weapons floating about. Not impressed with the performance of my colleague Lester’s Nerf Maverick, a mainstay of Nerf’s suction-cup-dart-firing “N-Strike” series, I decided to build a better Nerf gun myself. Here’s the result: a simple... Read more »

LED Robot Ornament

Crafting under pressure is irresistible. This year the Craftzine gals suggested an ornament swap– 12 days before Christmas. With a lot on our plates we all agreed to make time for crafting eight handmade ornaments each, and the deadline made it even more intense. Cheers to speed crafting! Read more »

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